Easy Whole Wheat Bread

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Easy whole wheat bread is something I’ve been searching for, for a long time now. I loooove bread, especially fresh baked bread, hot out of the oven, warm and soft on the inside, with a nice hard crust on the outside. It’s the best!

I’ve been discouraged from trying to bake my own though, because it seems all the recipes that exist out there have oil, sugar, or other ingredients I don’t cook with. Or, they’re incredibly complex recipes with lots of steps, wait times, complicated rising instructions, etc. I wanted something simple, healthy, and easy to make, but wasn’t having any luck in my search.

That is, until now! It took a lot of research, but I think I’ve finally found a way to bake a homemade bread loaf that is easy AND healthy! No oil, no sugar, no complicated steps, no long wait times. This will forever be my new go-to easy whole wheat bread recipe!

easy whole wheat bread | spartanlifeblog.com

You can enjoy this bread with nut butters or fruit jams on top. You could also go the savory route and spread avocado or hummus on it. You can dip it in soup, make sandwiches out of it, toast crostinis or bruschetta with it – you name it. But anyways, let’s get on with the recipe!

Easy Whole Wheat Bread In Under 2 Hours

oil free easy whole wheat bread | spartanlifeblog.com

First, combine the flour, salt, and yeast in a bowl. Then, slowly add warm water and knead with your hands until a dough ball forms. I use these quick “fast acting” dry yeast packets. They’re really cheap at Kroger or Walmart, and one packet (or square) is the perfect amount for what you’ll need. 2018 Update: You can also buy yeast in bulk for cheap online (which is what I started to do, since I’m doing a lot more baking these days!).

fast easy whole wheat bread | spartanlifeblog.com

The above picture is what your dough ball should look like just after you’re done kneading it into a ball. Now comes the waiting part. Most bread recipes you see online will ask you to let the dough “rest” or “rise” for 10+ hours, or even overnight. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Just step away from this bread for one hour and one hour only. Trust me, the loaf will still rise and be delicious in the end.

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After one hour your dough should look like the picture above. As you can see, it definitely expanded and grew bigger while it rested.

Next, preheat your oven to 400 F and line a round baking dish with parchment paper. Sprinkle some extra flour over the dough so you can get it out of the bowl easily, and transfer it to the round baking pan. Shake it a few times, and gently pat the dough with your hands so that it fills the space of the round dish evenly.

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Let the dough rest for another 30 minutes, to rise once more. This should be happening while your oven is preheating, so no time is lost here really. As you can see in the picture above, the dough will rise again in these 30 minutes.

And now you’re pretty much ready to bake! All of our prep happened in under 2 hours. Not 24, or 8, or 10, but less than 2! That’s why I love this recipe.

Score & Bake

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Finally, “score” the top of the dough, sprinkle it with some herbs, rolled oats (regular oats or gluten free oats work great), coarse sea salt (optional), and bake.

Scoring is slashing the dough with a knife (or scissors, as a crafty commenter informed me below!) to allow it to expand during baking. The purpose is primarily to control the direction in which the bread will expand during baking. You’ll see in fancy bakeries that they sometimes score their bread with fun patterns of leaves, flowers, or other intricate designs. I decided to go with a simple criss-cross slash – and I kinda messed it up a bit!

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To be fair, this was my first time ever scoring bread. I wasn’t expecting the dough to be as “sticky” as it was, and my knife didn’t really scrape through it very easily. I’ll know for next time though! Maybe if I get better I can try scoring my dough with fun patterns too one day. 🙂 For more info on scoring, with videos on how to do it, check out this page here.

Easy Whole Wheat Bread

oil free whole wheat bread | spartanlifeblog.com

And that’s it! I have to say, for this being my first time ever making homemade bread, I was so so pleased with how it turned out. I was nervous that it wouldn’t rise properly, that it would be hard as a rock, or not cook at all. Knowing my luck it would “collapse” or sink, or burn to a crisp. But to my very pleasant surprise, I thought it turned out perfectly.

whole wheat bread recipe | spartanlifeblog.com

The outside crust was perfect. It was crisp without being too brittle. It gave the bread the perfect amount of texture. This time around I only topped it with rolled oats and sea salt, but next time I think I’ll get creative with rosemary, maybe olives, sun dried tomatoes, herbs, or other fun combinations!

The inside was nice and soft too. Not overdone, dried out or hard. That was probably my biggest worry with making homemade bread. Could I get it just right so that the outside is crunchy, but the inside is soft? Believe me when I say if I did it, you can too! Just follow the instructions below exactly and it should turn it just like this.

Get Creative With It

easy whole wheat bread | spartanlifeblog.com

I mentioned before you could get really creative with the different toppings you put on it before baking. But I think you can be just as creative with how you eat it too. By that I mean using it for toast, dunking it in soups, using it with a homemade dip, sandwiches, etc. I made a banging homemade broccoli “cheese” soup this same week and used this bread to dip in my soup every time I ate some of it. It was sooo good.

I’m glad that I’ve finally come across an easy whole wheat bread recipe that is simple, healthy, and quick to make. It’s everything I hoped homemade bread-making would be. Plus, learning to DIY can be a great introduction to more eco friendly living!

P.S. The final final perk of this recipe is that your home will smell amazing like a bakery after making this. And who doesn’t love the smell of fresh baked bread??

oil free whole wheat bread
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4.92 from 36 votes

Easy Whole Wheat Bread

Easy whole wheat bread recipe that is oil and sugar free. It only takes 2 hours to make from start to finish, 4 ingredients, and can be enjoyed as toast, dipped in soup, used for sandwiches, crostinis, and more.
Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Side, Side Dish
Cuisine: Healthy
Keyword: bread, oil-free, side-dish, sugar-free
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 69kcal
Author: Spartan Life


  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • teaspoons active dry yeast or 1 packet
  • teaspoons salt optional, see note*
  • 2 cups warm water


  • 1 TBS whole rolled oats
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • Herbs of your choosing


  • In a large bowl mix together the flour, yeast and salt. Then pour in the warm water and knead with your hands until a dough forms (the dough will be sticky, which is ok)
  • Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rest in a draft free spot for 1 hour
  • After 1 hour preheat your oven to 400 F and line a round baking dish* with parchment paper
  • Rub some flour between your hands and transfer your dough to the round baking dish. Shake the dish so the dough settles into the space of the dish evenly, or pat it gently with your hands to fill it
  • Let the dough rest for another 30 minutes
  • Score the dough with a knife (criss-cross shape in center) and sprinkle it with your toppings (rolled oats, salt, etc.)
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown


* The salt in this recipe is optional. It can be omitted completely or reduced depending on your preference. Other herbs are a great addition as well! Lately my favorite variation of this recipe is to use only 1/2 tsp of salt and also add in dried parsley, oregano, and onion powder to the mix.
* Readers have commented that baking this recipe in a traditional loaf pan also works great as opposed to a round-shaped dish.

Easy Whole Wheat Bread | Healthy Recipes by spartanlifeblog.com

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Can this recipe be made with a gluten free flour blend or oat flour?


This bread is amazing! Made it for the first time today came out perfect. Will be making it regularly, thanks for the recipe.


I cannot believe how incredibly easy and wonderfully tasty this recipe is! After reading about leaky gut and learning culprits are (among others, mainly processed foods) bread, yogurt and quinoa I set out to find a pure and simple recipe for bread. This is it! Compare these ingredients to what you would consider a healthy whole grain store bought bread made with ingredients most of which I couldn’t pronounce. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. My family loves it.


what’s the calorie count per slice?


I really want to make this but I am a bit unsure exactly how to knead the dough. Is there a method I should follow? Any tips? Thanks


I intend to try this soon. I’m trying to go oul and sugar free, but I need a way to have whole grains other than oatmeal and rice.


I made this last weekend and it turned out quite dense, flavor is excellent. Then I realized that I should have made adjustments for high altitude, we’re at 6,00 ft! I am guy who is new to baking, especially bread. Is anyone else above 3,500 ft who could let me know what adjustments I need to make for next time?


Oh no. Mine came out chewy, dense and heavy as a brick.. I’m pretty bad in the kitchen so I assume it’s my fault. I used instant yeast and did leave it for the hour, transfer to loaf pan then leave for another half hour. Not sure what went wrong.


Actually I wasn’t sure it was getting brown so left it in about 10 minutes more. This would have dried it out.


I really like this recipe. It’s literally so simple and tasty too. I did not add salt and I think next time I will as it was a bit plain. I like the idea of adding spices to the mix; will try that next time!


I added some spices such as chives and oregano and salt and it tastes so good! Hard to believe its just flour water and yeast lol

Katie D

Love this recipe! It’s so rare to find recipes without sugar. Thanks!


Can I use almond or quinoa Or oat flour instead of using wheat?


Can I use quinoa flour or almond flour instead of wheat? 🙂


Is there a way to make this so that the crust is soft instead of hard and crunchy? It was difficult to slice.


I’ve heard that setting a small bowl (oven-proof!) of water in the oven while it bakes will help keep the crust from getting too hard. I hope that helps.

Dolores S. Fay

First time making this wheat recipe. Just put the towel
over it. Now waiting an hour to have it rise. That will be 12:30 in New Hampshire. Then will look for what I want to put it in. Wait another 30 minutes I hope and score it. Will put Oatmeal and some herb and wait for it to bake to have it ready for 6:30 tonight. Mm Mn I just can not wait.
I am 80 years old and love ❤️ to cook 👩‍🍳 and bake. 🙏🏻

Mary Ewing

Do you have to youse fast acting?


Wish the ingredients were in grams instead of cups! Everywhere I look cups measure different. Would love to try this recipe but in the UK not used to cups! If I get the measurement of flour wrong it would be ruined. Can anyone tell me the flour weight in grams pls? Thanks


https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/ingredient-weight-chart If whole wheat flour, then its 113 grams. Could vary slightly based on the brand but start there and see how it goes?


If making in a loaf pan, what size pan would you use? (I have some pretty small loaf pans – should I split this into, or use just one pan?


Is one cup 200 ml or 250 ml


I have little experience baking bread. Can I substitute Whole Wheat pastry flour? I have a huge bag of the pastry flour that I would like to utilize. I’m not sure how that would affect the end product.


Pastry flour does not contain enough gluten to make proper bread–that is kind of the point of it actually because gluten tends to make things a bit chewier and hold together better, which you wouldn’t want in pastry but would in bread. Pastry flour makes a lighter, flakier pastry crust.

[…] Whole wheat bread with herbs of your choice […]


is anyone able to give me a rough calorie breakdown if sliced into 14 pieces and no added salt – just flour, yeast, water? thank uuu!

Patricia A Highton

You could probably read what each ingredient has in it nutrition wise, add it all up, and then divide. That’s what I would do. I think I would also proof overnight in the fridge and then bring to room temp and proof again before shaping. It’s a pretty dense bread without AP flour. Just my opinion.


I have some experience baking bread, but this is my first whole wheat loaf that I’ve made. I’ve been trying to eat healthier, so I wanted a good recipe for bread without any sugar. The dough was very sticky, like the recipe said, but it rose beautifully, and was airy and fluffy before I put it in the oven to bake. The bread had a very pleasant, mild “tanginess” to it that I really enjoyed, and it had a crispy crust and soft crumb. And it was so easy to make! I just set it in the oven with the… Read more »

Carl Brouwrr

I bake 3 loaves regularly, freeze two, then go thru them as needed. I bake one loaf for my neighbour, he too loves it. I usually cook in oats, and bran. Let it rise 1 hour, turn on oven, punch down. At 400 degrees, it has risen and pop in the oven. I add a container of water in oven while it’s baking. Always turns out perfectly and delicious. It also toasts very nicely. I use loaf pans. Thanks for your hard work.

The best ever!!!
I’ve tried this recipe for over five times now!
Omg you can’t fail baking bread with this.
Thank you so much for sharing.
I’ve introduced to my Korean blog too.


This was my first time making bread, and it was super easy! It’s the most delicious bread! Super moist and crunchy on the outside! I’m never buying from the store again…

Rhelda Tetreau

And is this bread low carb?

Rhelda Tetreau

Can this bread be made in a bread machine?

Tessa Tayag

This is the best whole wheat bread recipe I’ve tried ever. I’d like to add in some wheat germ, wheat bran, nuts, flax seed and chopped prunes next time, measuring a total 1/2 to 3/4 cup. Should I remove the same volume (1/2 or 3/4 cup) of whole wheat flour? Will the moisture in prunes have an adverse effect ?

Philippa Bates

Wow, thank you. Best ‘healtheir’ bread I’ve made. Thank you!


I used club soda instead of plain water (seltzer water also works well), had 3 year old yeast so I used 2 teaspoons, and left everything alone

Came out perfectly.

Love this 4 ingredient no knead bread and will be making it from now, instead of buying!


Why club soda?


Finally, a bread recipe with no oil AND NO SUGAR. I’ve scoured the internet for this!!!


Wow, all the comments from just today! It must be a great recipe! I was looking for hamburger buns with no oil and I think this will be perfect. How many buns will it make do you think?


Hi Natalie! Thanks for sharing a minimalist recipe that fits my vegan lifestyle. I made mine in a traditional loaf pan and let it rise twice with a moist towel on a table near the fireplace. My loaf came out beautifully tall and nice and fluffy soft inside with a countryside crunch on the outside. I am wondering though how many calories would be in one slice of this fabulous bread. Mine has no oil, no salt and no sugar. I am enjoying your wonderful website. Thanks.


I did some guesstimate math,calories of four cups of whole wheat comes around in the 1600+ for the whole loaf. If I sliced the loaf to 15 slices it would be 1/15…. so per slice of this comes to a 108 but given the yeast I’d say 110 per slice just to be safe.


I’m so excited to try this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing!! Go Spartans!

Does the pan have to be a circular pan?


* “Readers have commented that baking this recipe in a traditional loaf pan also works great as opposed to a round-shaped dish.”

Whoops – just noticed you covered this as I reread the article.

Rossana Cohen

Can you slice this and then freeze it so you have it handy for longer?


Made this today!! Turned out great! I followed what you said about the salt and herbs. I also baked it in a pan. I put in 1 1/2 cup of bread flour, 1 3/4 cup of wheat flour, 1/2 cup of rye flour, and 1/4 cup of flax seed meal. I added the bread flour because I was afraid it would be too dense without it. If anyone has any insights into a light fluffy flour that is healthier than your cheapo grocery store bread flour, please let me know! I’m new to this!
Thanks again for the recipe!


Hi Natalie! I accidentally started kneading the dough for a few minutes before I realized that this recipe calls for no kneading and the dough should be loose.

Now I’m waiting for it to rise anxiously. Any idea if kneading hurts the process for this recipe?

Thanks so much for this simple, no added sugar bread recipe!


Can this be made in a bread machine?


Wonderful recipe, thank you very much. Make this regularly for my family, and with my young children.

Do you have a whole-wheat sourdough bread recipe you like? All of the ones I’ve found are scarily complicated, and I thought you might have cracked an easier way. Thank you in advance.

Erica Aris

I too would also love to know of a great whole-wheat sourdough recipe! A sister to this great recipe. Can you share one?


I have been looking for a simple whole grain bread recipe with yeast and no oil or salt as I am on a WFPBNSOS (whole food plant based no salt oil or sugar) diet. I have discovered that if I leave salt out of the food I eat then I don’t need medication for high blood pressure because my blood pressure normalizes. If I leave the salt out your recipe looks like it should work. It will be pretty spartan but should go well with the rest of my diet. Thanks! Mitch


Hi, if i use instant dry yeast, will it make a difference? Should i use less? Or more?



I just made this today and it turned out awesome! I cooked it in a loaf pan and it turned out great. Thanks for this recipe!


Hi Natalie,

Sorry for the silly question, but is Active Dry Yeast vegan? I saw sorbitan monostearate on a few yeast packages, and I’m afraid to purchase it if the monostearate was derived from cows. I think it can also be made from coconuts, but I’m not an expert.

Hope to make your vegan, healthy bread!


I really like this bread. Any idea how long it lasts? So far the longest I’ve had it is 3 days but it’s all gone by then.


Tried this receipe at the weekend. It was so nice making another one today. Even my husband liked it and he’s doesn’t eat whole meal bread. Delicious simple receipe thank you *****


I wish I could post a photo! My first loaf turned out beautiful!! I’m a Canadian girl dating a Swiss guy. Simple, crusty, unsweetened, whole grain bread is what he loves. This recipe is perfect and it bakes perfect exactly as the recipe is written. Thank you so much!



I made this recipe a couple of times already. I just stumbled on it and decided to try it, and because it was so good I keep making it. I usually make it into rolls, because it’s perfect for breakfast on the go.
I just wonder why it always seems so dense, and if there is any ingredient that I could add to make it rise more. Any suggestions?


Using all whole wheat flour will make it more dense. If you don’t want it that dense, you can always sub out part of the whole wheat flour, maybe a cup, with white. Whole wheat doesn’t have as much gluten as all purpose or bread flour. Another thing you can do if you want to keep it whole wheat only is to add some Vital Wheat Gluten, a natural protein found in wheat flour, to it. Follow the instructions on the back of the package and store it as recommended. It will add the gluten needed for good rise and… Read more »


Have you ever tried making this in a baguette style of loaf? For some reason none of the stores seems to carry any oil/sugar free, vegan, whole grain bread other than Ezekiel and Dave’s.


Great recipe. I was looking for a whole wheat bread recipe without sugar/honey and yours is so delicious. I reduced the amount of salt and added 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil, and it turned out perfect. Thanks Natalie, regards from Libya.

Steve Benton

Looks great! Going to try it today! Have you ever tried it with sprouted wheat? Do you think it’ll work the same? Thanks!